Today's poem is by Steven Winn


I know a man, not well,
Who is missing the end
Of a finger—not much,
Only a joint's worth, but
Enough to notice, which
For a while I didn't,
Though I'd sat with him when
He drove, and at a bar,
Drinking gin, and before,
Applauding at a play.
Then when I saw it it
Was all I saw—not blunt
But bulged out a bit and
Polished, like an heirloom
Ring, lightly shining when
He flexed his hands or one
Shot out to make a point.
Now I never miss it;
I have to check, in fact,
Make sure the thing I missed
Before is missing still.
Maybe if I knew him
Better I would ask how
It happened—drill press, saw,
Knife, failed prank, gone at birth?
But something stops me short
Of that, an impulse not
To fill an absence, not
To make what isn't is.
Better, I tell myself,
To let it float there, this
Sealed, unblemished secret.

Copyright © 2012 Steven Winn All rights reserved
from Cimarron Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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